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Writing Advice

How Not to Write a Screenplay

I intentionally wrote this trash screenplay, just so that you know how your own shouldn’t look.

Here is my how-to guide on how a screenplay under no circumstance should ever look like. This has nothing to do with story, pacing or characters. In fact, I took literally zero effort into doing that. This is an overly done screenplay, made intentionally to be as bad as it is, in my opinion, it’s just as important to know what not to do, as it is to know what to do.

INT. MANSION – FOURTH FLOOR – DINING ROOM – 2005 -OCTOBER 31st – HALLOWEEN -NIGHT – FULL MOON – 09:55pm

Nicolas “Nick” Brady, age 47, eight months and three days, is a tall, muscular man with long, black hair with traces of light grey and even a few, lonely white hairs scattered throughout his head. He’s wearing black leather boots with moosefur fillings, fitting perfectly with his cowleather socks that are slightly wet due to rain from outside that happened about 20-30 minutes ago. Pants? He’s wearing jeans, dark blue. Pretty standard. Upper body half? Fancy jakcet and classic Indiana Jones style brown fedora. In fact, he even took it exploring the places those very films where shot. Sri Lanka, Argentina. All those places.

He sits himself down on a chair, leaning in about four inches. After looking around the room for anything that may be suspicous, he relaxes. Takes a deep breath and takes his gloves and fedora off. Laying them neatly next to the plate full of roast Hungarian pork, potatoes and gravy, broccoli. He looks at the slice of chocolate cake he’s going to eat afterwards. He pours himself a glass of French import champaigne, filling it up until about just over halfway, until suddenly ( seriously, never ever use the word ‘suddenly’ in a screenplay, it’s a mistake I made a lot in my beginner days, it’s the epiphany of novice writing ) a small creak upsets his mindset. It’s Cliff. An Iraq War veteran, with four confirmed kills. He’s from Gadsden Alabama, a relatively small town of about 35.000 or so people. The scars of war both literally and metaphorically showing on his face. He’s seen it all. Dead terrorists, dead civilians, dead comrades. Those very things are still haunting his dreams to this day, all the years it’s been after.

Cliff:”( friendly like and not in the shot ) Howdy do”.

Nick:”( furious ) What have you done”?!

Nick pulls out a gun. It’s a colt 45, which he bought from a sleezy street dealer in Compton, a rough neighborhood in Los Angeles, California, which is one of United States of America. Mostly famous for crime and former rap group N.W.A., whose members included Ice Cube and Dr Dre. After purchasing the weapon, Nick concealed it in his jacket, bringing it to his hotel. After a long series of other adventures he had in that rough part of town, he brought it back. Now, playing life and death with Nick’s former friend Cliff, a man he once trusted. But can’t anymore.

Cliff:”( nonchalant ) Lemme’ explain.”

Nick:”( not agreeing ) No.”

Nick takes a deep breath, deeply pondering wether his decision could have more negative consequences shooting back at him like the bullet he wants to shoot at him. Will karma attack him? Does he even believe in karma?

Nick gets tired, his eyes dropping like a brick thrown at a 90 degree angle off a cliff in a Wild E Coyote Roadrunner type of way. He drops down, his head landing on a chair, the rest of him falls to the ground. Cliff looks him over. Slapping him in the face, just making sure. Not that he actually happened to be awake and he fell for a trap that Nick came up with to surprise him. He runs away, to the cherrywood door with a golden doorknob and gets out. Slamming it on the way out.

The end

Roll credits

Congratulations! You just read one of the worst written screenplays in the history of mankind. In all seriousness, this was not meant to be good by any means necessary, even my very bad beginner stories were actually better than this. Maybe I’ll upload a ‘fixed’ version of this one day.

-The Screenwriter

PS, happy birthday to Jada Pinkett Smith

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